Recently my daughter, son-in-law, two grandchildren and I did a 45 minute walk in the New Zealand bush to a waterfall. The track ranged from an easy going walk amongst moss covered boulders, to climbing several sets of steep steps. The end result was well worth it. A beautiful two-tiered waterfall plunging from the top of the Kaimai ranges greeted us as we rounded the last bend.
About two minutes from the lower look-out for the falls, there was a divide in the pathway. To the right was a further 45 minutes of steep climbing to the top of the falls, to the left was the view looking up to the top of the range and the waterfall from below.
The temptation to go up to this vantage point over-looking all the Waikato, was tempered by the feeling of the already tightening muscles of our legs. We were satisfied with the view from below the falls.
On the way up we met several groups of people coming down. While standing aside to enable people to pass, sometimes we would ask. “How far to the first look-out point.” The answers we got were often vague and non-specific. “Not far”. “Just up around the corner”
One character smiled as he told us three minutes, which we knew was untrue. Then “Up those nasty stairs and one more little rise.” Little!! Mhhh!
The most memorable response was “You are half way to half way” meaning we were half way to the first look-out.
Everyone’s perception of how far there was to go, was different. People offered an estimate of how they perceived the distance, based on what they had seen and experienced, their knowledge of distance and possibly how fresh and energised or drained and tired they felt. If they sensed they had no choice in being there, they would put a different value and possibly perceived the walk had taken forever.
In conversations we can often hear the perceptions of others as they share, based on what they see or hear, what they know about the situation and how they put a value on the people, events or things involved. Knowing that everyone has a different perception can be helpful in understanding that we are all different and that is OK.